Since you excel in so many ways - you have so much faith, such enthusiasm, and such love for us – now I want you to excel also in the gracious ministry of giving. (2 Corinthians 8:7 NLT)
In this passage from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, he compliments their devotion to Christ yet reminds them they are also expected to excel in giving! As the Rev. Gwendolyn Kirkland has observed, “We can become scared and operate from a mentality of scarcity instead of seeing the true abundance around us.’ If we operate out of scarcity then we are unlikely to have a very positive response to the annual stewardship campaign. We forget how grateful we are –how indebted we are to God’s grace – and tighten up as we fill out the pledge card.
The stewardship group that the Rev. Nancy Soukup and I met with at the all-church gathering in March at Central Church was certainly not operating out of scarcity, but was full of enthusiasm as they shared their ideas, plans and vision for local church stewardship programs. They were genuinely interested in learning as much as they could from one another. They were not full of doom & gloom about their church’s stewardship efforts despite RI’s economic struggles. They talked about their stewardship programs as opportunities for fun and fellowship. And they didn’t shy away from taking on a leadership role in securing the financial well-being of their church. They were definitely helping their congregations to be generous givers
Nancy and I look forward to reconnecting with the stewardship group on Saturday morning, September 13, 10 am to 12 noon at Newman Church in Rumford, RI. All local church members serving on stewardship teams/committees are urged to join us. We hope you will bring examples of the creative approaches to stewardship taking place in your local churches. Yet we want to understand stewardship as a spiritual practice of generosity that is more than a once a year activity and integrates giving into all aspects of life in the church. Also, we will talk about how this relates to supporting the work of the Conference and the national church through Our Churches Wider Mission. Before we adjourn we will figure out what is the most convenient way for folks to communicate with one another and share ideas and resources. And, hopefully some of you would like to contribute periodically to this Stewardship blog for the Conference.
Vice-President for Stewardship
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